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When a couple divorced in 2010, the broad terms of their financial settlement were agreed very quickly with some details finalised in 2014. The agreement included the passing of the matrimonial home to the wife along with the liability of the remaining mortgage on it.
The order specified that if she could not obtain the agreement of the lender to release her ex-husband from his liability under the mortgage, she would have to indemnify him until the property could be sold.
Under the order, the ex-wife would have no further claim on her ex-husband's assets.
Following the order, she was not able to obtain the release of her former husband from his liability under the mortgage and the transfer of his interest in the property was not made. She therefore went back to court seeking to vary the order so that the matrimonial home would be sold when their younger child reaches the age of 18 or either child completes full-time education.
The ex-husband would therefore remain liable for the mortgage until the property is sold.
The Court of Appeal commented at length on the need to obtain finality in such matters, Lord Justice Gross commenting that he was 'very troubled by the delay' in resolving an issue that seemed to have been sorted out years earlier.
The Court considered that the ex-wife's proposal did not amount to a variation of the original order but was 'an attempt to substitute an entirely different outcome from that provided for by the original consent order'. The application was accordingly refused.